Running a marathon in all 50 states in memory of fallen soldiers is the goal of Retired Chief Warrant Officer Scott Sunday of Grovetown.
“I did 13 last year, and I plan to do 30 this year,” said Sunday, who is putting a twist on his upcoming appearance in the Jacksonville Run For the Warriors Half Marathon on May 18 in Jacksonville, N.C. He will run this event wearing an elevation mask and a weighted vest while raising money for the organization Hope for the Warriors.
When Sunday reached his initial goal of $575 for the race, he added the weighted vest option, adding a pound for each $50 pledged. So far, he’s raised $1,150, putting the vest weight at 23 pounds. He’d like to reach $2,000.
“I’m bearing the load. The money is going back to help soldiers and their families,” he said. “The oxygen restriction mask is symbolic of these Gold Star families who are not able to take a breath without feeling the pain.”
The Jacksonville Run For the Warriors event is also significant to Sunday because it’s being held on Armed Forces Day.
Sunday started his 50 marathons in 50 states in May 2012, while running in a marathon in Buffalo, N.Y. He runs in memory of three fallen service members: Chief Warrant Officer Scott Coulter, Marine Staff Sgt. Javier Ortiz River and Spc. Brenden Salazar Nelson.
Until a year ago, he’d been competing in half-marathons, toying with the idea of running a full one.
“It was decided with a coin flip,” he said. “I made the decision to upgrade.”
In addition to the Jacksonville, N.C. race, Sunday is participating in the New Jersey Marathon this weekend.
Hope for Warriors is a national organization that helps wounded service members and their families and families of the fallen, according to a news release.
To learn more about Sunday’s quest,visit https://www.facebook.com/RunningToHonorAHero or to make a donation specifically in honor of Scott Sunday’s May 18 run – and add weight to his vest – go to bit.ly/13wVklJ.